I got rid of smears fast with these simple tips on how to clean a laptop screen

Person using spray botte and microfiber cloth to clean laptop screen.
(Image credit: Getty)

Knowing how to clean a laptop screen is essential if you want to be able to focus on your screen and keep your work environment tidy. Whether you are working, gaming, or watching videos or movies on your laptop, a dirty screen can be distracting and become a nuisance over time. My laptop screen had definitely seen better days, so I took the necessary steps to clean it. In the past, I have used a damp paper towel to clean my laptop screen but I often fond that this left streaks and debris, so I was on the hunt for a more effective method. 

To clean my screen I simply used deionized water and a microfiber cloth. By using deionized water, no watermarks or streaks are left behind while the microfiber cloth will collect any dust or dirt that has built up over time. To keep the best laptops clean and functioning properly, it's essential to frequently clean the screen to prevent build-up under the keys that can damage the components. 

Why should you clean a laptop screen? 

When you get a buildup of dirt on your laptop screen it can become very distracting. I often find myself squinting to check if the blotch on my screen is a full stop or just dirt, and it can be even more annoying when I am trying to focus on a video game or an action-packed movie. 

Besides distractions, a dirty screen can also cause damage to your laptop. A build-up of dirt can scratch your screen when it's closed, and dirt can also fall into the keys and cause damage to your components. If dirt gets under the keys they can lose their functionality or get stuck. My old laptop had to be sent for repairs after dirt got underneath the keys, and I eventually had to start plugging a new keyboard in because I couldn’t stand the stickiness.

How to clean a laptop screen 

What the expert says...

Cleaning Expert and Author, Laura Mountford says, "Firstly turn off and unplug your laptop. Clean your laptop screen with a quality clean lint free cloth, the ones for window and glass work really well to remove dirt and fingerprints."

Cleaning a laptop screen is straightforward, and only requires two things: a microfibre cloth and some deionized water. I purchased a screen cleaning kit on amazon for about $8 and it came with both of these things. I followed the steps below to get a clean laptop screen, and I repeat it every few days to keep things in good shape.

1. Open up a blank Word document

I found that it helps to have a white screen when cleaning my laptop screen, so I open a blank word document so that I can see all of the dirt and clean it accordingly.

2. Spray deionized water on your monitor

Spray a generous amount of deionized water onto your screen, covering heavily soiled areas and corners.

3. Use the microfiber cloth to wipe off the deionized water

Gently wipe off the water with the microfiber cloth. To avoid streaks, use one side of the cloth to wipe off the water, and then use the other dry side to go over your screen one more time. If any dirt remains, simply spray it again and repeat the process.

4. Let your screen dry completely 

Leave your laptop open to dry completely. Deionized water won’t damage your laptop so don’t worry about the odd drop on your keyboard, simply wipe it off. 

It really is this easy. If you follow these steps you will have a perfectly clean laptop screen with no streaks, hairs or dust. 

How often should you clean a laptop screen? 

You should clean your laptop screen frequently. I personally aim for about once per week, but it usually comes down to how dirty it gets during the week. If you eat at your laptop then you will probably need to clean it more often. 

The cleaning materials required are incredibly cheap and last a very long time, so you don’t need to worry about cost when frequently cleaning your laptop screen.  

Precautions to take when cleaning a laptop screen 

There are some important precautions to take when it comes to cleaning your laptop screen. I can't stress enough how important it is to use deionized water. Regular water will leave streaks and can damage your laptop if it gets into the keyboard or speakers. It's not the water itself that damages your laptop, it's the minerals that it leaves behind when it dries - deionized water has all of the minerals taken out, thus causing no damage. The lack of minerals in ionized water also makes it great for dissolving any residue on your screen so that it is easier to clean.

You should also use a soft, microfibre cloth and nothing else. Paper towels or rough cloths can potentially scratch your screen or leave little specks of dust or fluff behind, which defeats the whole purpose of cleaning it. 

Discover more guides for tech at home…

Best laptops
Best TVs
Best DVD players
Best cordless phones
Best home computers

Monib Zahdeh
TTR Staff Writer

Monib is a former staff writer for Top Ten Reviews. He has a degree in journalism and over four years of experience in the home and garden industry as a Digital Content Specialist for the made-to-measure marketplace Britannia Rose. When he is not reading or writing, Monib enjoys cooking, going on walks, and visiting different historical sites.  

With contributions from